global warming

The Obama administration is sending mixed messages on energy policy.  On the one hand, Obama’s top budget guru Peter Orszag told Congress last year that a cap-and-trade is designed to raise the price of energy.  On the other, the President says a cap-and-trade would spur economic growth.

Taxes and economic growth are mutually exclusive, so it seems as if President Obama is trying to have his cake and eat it, too.

To understand what the Obama administration is really thinking about energy policy, CEI’s Chris Horner filed a Freedom of Information Act request charging the Treasury Department to release all internal communications regarding cap-and-trade.

The Treasury Department responded on September 11th with 5 redacted documents, which were then released to the public by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. CBS news reporter Declan McCullagh picked up the FOIA story and the eye-popping cost estimates-“equal in scale to all existing environmental regulation”-soon attracted massive media attention.

It turns out that those were only the low-end cost estimates. On September 18th, the Treasury Department released unredacted and previously withheld documents. These memos suggest that cap-and-trade costs would be “equal in size to the corporate income tax.”

Is there more? That’s a fair question in light of the Treasury Department’s suspicious partial disclosure on September 11th. It’s also curious that Treasury failed to include any e-mails. I would think that economic analysis of a major policy would have generated a few e-mails up and down the chain of command. After all, this is a federal bureaucracy-nothing is spontaneous in a federal bureaucracy.

To find out what the Obama administration is hiding, Mr. Horner today informed the Treasury Department of CEI’s “intent to sue” if Treasury does not come into compliance with its legal obligations under the Freedom of Information Act.

If President Barack Obama is serious about open and transparent government, he should press Treasury to release all communications on cap-and-trade. Only then will we know what energy rationing actually costs.

To see Mr. Horner’s letter informing the treasury Department of CEI’s intent to sue, click here.

Saluting Norman Borlaug’s scientific, agricultural and humanitarian legacy

“Since when did you become a global warming alarmist?” I kidded Norman midway into our telephone conversation a few weeks before this amazing scientist and humanitarian died.

“What are you talking about?” Dr. Borlaug retorted. “I’ve never believed that nonsense.”

I read a couple sentences from his July 29 Wall Street Journal article. “Within the next four decades, the world’s farmers will have to double production … on a shrinking land base and in the face of environmental demands caused by climate change. Indeed, [a recent Oxfam study concludes] that the multiple effects of climate change might reverse 50 years of work to end poverty.”

I mentioned that my own discussions of those issues typically emphasize how agricultural biotechnology, modern farming practices and other technological advances will make it easier to adapt to any climate changes, warmer or colder, whether caused by humans or by the same natural forces that brought countless climate shifts throughout Earth’s history.

“You’re right,” he said. “I should have been more careful. Next time, I’ll do that. And I’ll point out that the real disaster won’t be global warming. It’ll be global cooling, which would shorten growing seasons, and make entire regions less suitable for farming.”

I was amazed, as I was every time we talked. Here he was, 95 years old, “retired,” still writing articles for the Journal, and planning what he’d say in his next column.

The article we were discussing, “Farmers can feed the world,” noted Norman’s deep satisfaction that G-8 countries have pledged $20 billion to help poor farmers acquire better seeds and fertilizer. “For those of us who have spent our lives working in agriculture,” he said, “focusing on growing food versus giving it away is a giant step forward.”

Our previous conversations confirm that he would likewise have applauded the World Bank’s recent decision to subsidize new coal-fired power plants, to generate jobs and reduce poverty, by helping poor countries bring electricity to 1.5 billion people who still don’t have it. For many poor countries, a chief economist for the Bank observed, coal is the only option, and “it would be immoral at this stage to say, ‘We want to have clean hands. Therefore we are not going to touch coal.'” Norman would have agreed.

“Governments,” he argued,  “must make their decisions about access to new technologies … on the basis of science, and not to further political agendas.” That’s why he supported DDT to reduce malaria, biotechnology to fight hunger, and plentiful, reliable, affordable electricity to modernize China, India and other developing nations.

His humanitarian instincts and commitment to science and poverty eradication also drove his skepticism about catastrophic climate change.

He was well aware that recent temperature data and observations of solar activity and sunspots indicate that the Earth could be entering a period of global cooling. He had a healthy distrust of climate models as a basis for energy and economic policy. And he knew most of Antarctica is gaining ice, and it would be simply impossible for Greenland or the South Pole region to melt under even the more extreme temperature projections from those questionable computer models.

He also commented that humans had adapted to climate changes in the past, and would continue to do so. They would also learn from those experiences, developing new technologies and practices that would serve humanity well into the future.

The Ice Ages doubtless encouraged people to unlock the secrets of fire and sew warm clothing. The Little Ice Age spawned changes in societal structure, housing design, heating systems and agriculture. The Dust Bowl gave rise to contour farming, crop rotation, terracing and other improved farming practices.

Norman’s dedication to science, keen powers of observation, dogged perseverance, and willingness to live for years with his family in Mexico, India and Pakistan resulted in the first Green Revolution. It vastly improved farming in many nations, saved countless lives, and converted Mexico and India from starving grain importers to self-sufficient exporters.

In his later years, he became a champion of biotechnology, as the foundation of a second Green Revolution, especially for small-holder farmers in remote parts of Africa. Paul Ehrlich and other environmentalists derided his ultimately successful attempt to defuse “The Population Bomb” through his initial agricultural advances, and attacked him for his commitment to biotechnology.

His response to the latter assaults was typically blunt. “There are 6.6 billion people on the planet today. With organic farming, we could only feed 4 billion of them. Which 2 billion would volunteer to die?”

The Atlantic Monthly estimated that Norman’s work saved a billion lives. Leon Hesser titled his biography of Borlaug The Man Who Fed the World. Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Greg Conko dubbed him a “modern Prometheus.” Science reporter Greg Easterbrook saluted him as the “forgotten benefactor of mankind.” And the magician-comedy-political team of Penn and Teller said he was “the greatest human being who ever lived.”

He deserved every award and accolade – and merited far more fame in the United States than he received, though he was well known in India, Mexico and Pakistan, where his work had made such a difference.

Norman was also a devoted family man and educator. He served as Distinguished Professor of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University into his nineties. A year and a half ago, he gladly spent 40 minutes on the telephone with my daughter, who interviewed him for a high school freshman English “true hero” paper – and did so just after returning from the hospital and on the one-year anniversary of his beloved wife Margaret’s death.

He told my daughter it was because of Margaret, “and her faith in me and what I was doing, that we were able to live in Mexico, under conditions that weren’t nearly as good as what we could have had in the United States, and I was able to do my work on wheat and other crops.”

I sent him occasional articles, and we talked every few months, about biotech, global warming, malaria eradication, some new scientific report one of us had seen, or some website he thought I should visit. As we wrapped up our early August chat, we promised to talk again soon. Sadly, he entered a hospice and passed away before that could happen.

His mind was “still as clear as ever,” his daughter Jeanie told me, but his body was giving out. To the very end, Norman was concerned about Africa and dedicated to the humanitarian and scientific principles that had guided his life and research, and earned him the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize.

Norman left us a remarkable legacy. But as he told my daughter, “There is no final answer. We have to keep doing research, if we are to keep growing more nutritious food for more people.”

The world, its climate and insect pathogens will continue to change. It is vital that we sustain the incredible agricultural revolution that Norman Borlaug began.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power ∙ Black death.

9/18/2009

CEI’s Chris Horner used the Freedom of Information Act to uncover internal documents from the Obama administration in which Treasury Department officials admit that a cap-and-trade would impose a steep energy tax on American families.

The Treasury Department’s admission contradicts claims by Democratic leadership that a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme would boost the economy. In fact, a massive new energy tax (Department officials suggest that a cap-and-trade would cost consumers hundreds of billions of dollars) would depress economic growth by increasing utility bills and gasoline prices.

CEI long has warned Americans that policies to fight so-called global warming would harm American consumers and businesses by increasing energy costs. It’s great to see that Obama’s Treasury Department agrees.

To read more about these internal documents, read this Planet Gore blog post by Chris Horner, and this write-up by the Washington Times’s Amanda Carpenter.

I attended an excellent briefing  today on “Creating a low-carbon future” by Michael Howard of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).  The event  was hosted by the U. S. Energy Association and its executive director, Barry Worthington.   EPRI has done a lot of work on how the electricity sector could meet the greenhouse gas emissions target in the Waxman-Markey energy-rationing bill.  That target is economy-wide emissions 83% below 2005 levels by 2050.

Howard said that EPRI wanted to identify a strategy by which the electric sector could be de-carbonized affordably.  Here’s the background and how EPRI would do it:

The decisions made today and in the next few years will shape electric generation in 2050, so we have to make the right decisions starting now.  Electricity generation accounts for about one-third of the 2005 U. S. total of six billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.  Electric rates in constant dollars have been remarkably flat for the past forty years.

EPRI has identified two paths to meeting the 83% reduction target.  The first is by deploying a full portfolio of energy sources.  A full portfolio would most notably include expanded nuclear power and widespread carbon capture and storage for coal and natural gas.  The second is by deploying a limited portfolio of sources that would exclude nuclear and carbon capture and storage.

What is most apparent in EPRI’s modeling is that the limited portfolio approach would end the use of coal completely by 2030.  Renewables would go up, but the biggest increases would be in the use of natural gas.  The result is that electricity would become very expensive, with rates tripling by 2050 in constant dollars.  In addition, we would be forced to use much less electricity in order to meet the emissions reduction targets.

The full portfolio scenario projects that most of the cuts would be made by building new nuclear power plants and new coal plants that capture and store 90% of the carbon dioxide emissions produced.  Natural gas use would go down considerably.  EPRI projects that electric rates would not quite double by 2050 were the full portfolio approach pursued.  Enforced reductions in use would only be about half as severe under the full portfolio compared to the limited portfolio.

The full portfolio scenario sounds very nice, but it’s fantasy.  It has almost nothing to do with the real world.  What EPRI (understandably) does not include in their models are the increasing political, regulatory, and legal obstacles to building new power plants.  Even if carbon capture and storage technology becomes commercially viable by 2020 (which is highly unlikely), it will take decades to permit and build more than a handful of coal plants that capture the carbon dioxide, the pipelines to transport it, and the underground pockets to store it.   Permitting delays will put pipeline siting and construction years behind schedule.  Lawsuits will be filed claiming that pressurized CO2 is too dangerous to be allowed.   Similarly, a few new nuclear power plants may be built in the next twenty years, but building a lot of new plants will take decades to overcome the permitting obstructions.

These obstacles do not apply only to coal and nuclear plants.  Proposed wind and solar energy projects are being blocked and delayed all around the country.  Bobby Kennedy, jnr., is leading the campaign to block a big wind farm off Cape Cod, where his family own valuable, scenic vacation property.  At the same time, Kennedy has lashed out at local environmental pressure groups at the other end of the country that are trying to block a big solar energy development in the Mojave Desert that he has invested in.  Even if both projects eventually get built, they are being delayed for years.  This is a problem that the environmental pressure groups have helped to create and don’t want to admit exists.  It means that the limited portfolio approach modeled by EPRI is fantasy, too.

One of the problems with relying on EPRI’s or any of the economic models to predict the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is that they assume that political decisions will be made in a rational, orderly way that will allow economic decisions to be made in an efficient way.  The Waxman-Markey energy rationing bill (H. R. 2454) is just the latest disproof of this assumption.  The bill creates a cap-and-trade program to reduce emissions and then adds several hundred other programs to pay off individual special interests.  Nearly all these programs get in the way of the efficient working of cap-and-trade.  They will raise the costs of making mandatory reductions beyond what any model can predict.

To listen to Democratic Party leadership tell it, one would never know that a cap-and-trade has anything to do with global warming.

For example, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) pitched the American Clean Energy and Security Act, a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme that narrowly passed in the House, as a “vote for jobs,” rather than as a vote for global warming mitigation. Of course, this is malarkey-government only “creates” green jobs by destroying many more jobs in other, less politically favored economic sectors.

Now Democratic leaders in the Senate are saying that cap-and-trade is all about national security. Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts), in particular, has been pushing the thesis that climate change is going to cause conflict over scarce natural resource, drought-induced famine, and massive population flows. Kerry’s idea is to give political cover to moderate democrats otherwise loath to vote for an energy tax-moderates tend to represent Americans who are concerned with national security, but skeptical of global warming alarmism. By framing climate change as a threat to national security, these moderates might escape the adverse political consequences of voting for a cap-and-trade scheme.

That’s a risky bet for moderates, because Kerry’s national security argument is bogus. To learn why, read this excellent blog post by my colleague Marlo Lewis. Kerry’s claims are also refuted Christopher Monckton at the Science & Public Policy Institute, available here.

Last week Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) became chairman of the Agriculture Committee, after Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), the previous chair, accepted the gavel at the Health, Labor, Education and Pension Committee (vacated by the passing of Ted Kennedy).

Lincoln becomes the first female to chair this powerful committee, and her ascension to the top-spot will have a big impact on the country’s energy policy.

For almost a decade, the Senate Ag Committee has been the primary benefactor of ethanol, a fuel made from corn. Regardless whether the Ag chair was a Republican or a Democrat, the Committee, which is dominated by corn-belt politicians, showered ethanol with subsidies and give-aways-and even a Soviet-style production quota that forces consumers to use it. Government support for ethanol has been great for corn growers (they’ve seen demand increase by almost 50% since 2005), but it’s awful for livestock farmers, who have seen the cost of corn-feed skyrocket. Consumers have also been harmed, as the price of corn derivatives (meat, dairy, soda, etc., etc.,) has increased so sharply that inflation of the cost of food doubled the historical rate in 2008.

With Lincoln taking the gavel of the Ag Committee, however, the ethanol gravy train might be coming to an end. That’s because Lincoln doesn’t represent the corn-belt. To be sure, they grow corn in Arkansas, primarily in the eastern part of the state. But in western Arkansas, farmers raise chickens. In fact, the Natural State is the nation’s #2 producer of broiler chickens. America’s ethanol policy has seriously compromised the chicken industry, so we can expect Lincoln to take a more conservative approach with fuels made out of food.

Lincoln is also likely to affect the climate debate. The Ag Committee has some jurisdiction over climate change legislation, and Lincoln’s vote on cap-and-trade is a priority for her caucus leadership, which is having a tough time finding support for a climate bill among Senate Democrats. But Arkansas politics are decidedly unfavorable to global warming alarmism. Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Arkansas), who represents Little Rock and much of Pulaski County, was the only member of his State’s delegation to vote for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, cap-and-trade legislation that passed through the House of Representatives in late June, and he has been hammered over the airwaves by utilities, agriculture interests, and political opponents ever since. Now, there is considerable speculation that his seat is in jeopardy-all thanks to his vote for a cap-and-trade. No doubt Lincoln has noticed Snyder’s plight.

Rumors surfaced last week that President Barack Obama now considers financial sector reform to be his administration’s #2 priority after healthcare. Previously, climate change was thought to be the next big-ticket item on the President’s agenda.

The tea-leaves seem to indicate that this rumor is true.

For starters, Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) decided to stay on as Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, rather than accept the gavel on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (a post vacated by the passing of Ted Kennedy).

The only plausible explanation for Dodd’s decision to remain the chairman of the Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over financial sector reform, is an expectation by Dodd that Obama will push for increased regulation of Wall Street in the short term. Dodd faces a tough re-election fight in 2010, and taking on Wall Street would put him in a favorable spotlight for the foreseeable future.

And today in New York, President Obama gave a speech on the need for a new regulatory regime to govern Wall Street, thereby lending further credence to the rumor that climate change has dropped as a priority.

Meanwhile, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California), the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee (which has primary jurisdiction over climate change legislation) last week again delayed the introduction of global warming legislation, and Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), the second ranking Democrat in the Senate, told reporters that cap-and-trade might have to wait until 2010.

Leader of None

by Paul Driessen on September 8, 2009

Obama’s global warming policies have few US followers – and fewer on the global stage

“Few challenges facing America – and the world – are more urgent than combating climate change,” President Obama has asserted. “We will make it clear that America is ready to lead.”

The President and Al Gore are certainly ready to lead. But how many will follow?

Even in America, and certainly on the world stage, the two increasingly look like Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza. As they tilt for windmills, and against a “monstrous giant of infamous repute” – climate disasters conjured up by computer models and Hollywood special effects masters – their erstwhile followers are making politically correct noises, but running for the hills.

The House of Representatives passed a 1400-page energy and climate bill – by a razor-thin margin, and only after Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman packed it with enough last-minute deals to protect favored congressional districts, buy votes, and curry favor with assorted special interests. Not one legislator actually read the bill – which would create a trillion-dollar cap-trade-and-tax industry, ensure that energy and food costs “necessarily skyrocket,” kill jobs, and impose an all-intrusive Green Nanny State.

Republicans want to control what people do in their bedrooms, insists the old canard. Democrats, it appears, want to dictate what we do everywhere outside of our bedrooms. And Sancho Gore wants to become the world’s first global warming billionaire, by selling climate indulgences, aka carbon offsets.

The reaction has been predictable – by anyone except House and White House czars and czarinas.

Citizens are livid over yet another attempt to use a purported crisis to justify further expanding the government and spending billions more tax dollars for alarmist research, activism and propaganda, just ahead of the Copenhagen climate conference. Global warming continues to rank dead-last in Pew Research and other polls that actually list it as an issue. Rasmussen puts the President’s approval ratings at 46% and falling. Zogby reports that 57% of Americans oppose cap-and-trade bills.

Manufacturing states, which get 60-98% of their electricity from coal, worry that the only thing they’ll export in ten years will be jobs. Democrat senators from those states worry that the energy and climate issue will be “toxic for them during midterm elections,” says Politico magazine.

Even companies that had eagerly sought seats at the negotiating table are now gagging. ConocoPhillips, Caterpillar and others finally realize that cap-and-tax will severely penalize them and their customers.

Not even the climate is cooperating. Outside of Dallas, 2009 has brought some of coldest summer days on record across the US. Near freezing temperatures nipped at crops, and gas heaters were sine qua non at an August 29 outdoor wedding in Wisconsin. The Farmers Almanac predicts a brutal 2009-2010 winter.

In Europe, every longitude has a platitude about saving the planet. But EU countries that agreed to slash greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels are well above their Kyoto Protocol targets – Austria by 30% and Spain by 37% as of 2008. And despite new commitments to cut emissions 40 years from now, you don’t need tarot cards or entrails to predict the more probable EU emissions future.

Germany plans to build 27 coal-fired electrical generating plants by 2020. Italy plans to double its reliance on coal in just five years. Europe as a whole will have 40 new coal-fired power plants by 2015, columnist Alan Caruba reports. The Polish Academy of Sciences has publicly challenged manmade global warming disaster hypotheses. And only 11% of Czech citizens believe rising carbon dioxide emissions caused global temperatures to climb 1975-1998 – and also caused them to rise 1915-1940, fall 1940-1975, then stabilize and decline again 1998-2009.

Australia just voted down punitive global warming legislation. New Zealand has put its emissions-bashing program in a deep freeze.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s top economic aid bluntly dismissed any talk of following President Obama’s quixotic lead. “We won’t sacrifice economic growth for the sake of emission reduction,” he told reporters at the July 2009 G8 meeting.

Chinese and Indian leaders are equally adamant. China is playing a smart hand in this high-stakes climate poker game, drawing up plans to combat global warming sometime in the future, and gradually improve its energy efficiency and pollution control. However, it is building a new coal-fired power plant every week and putting millions of new cars on its growing network of highways.

So is India, which will double its coal-based electricity generation and produce millions of Tata and other affordable cars by 2020. “India will not accept any binding emission-reduction target, period,” Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has stated. “This is a non-negotiable stand.”

India and China have a “complete convergence” of views on these matters, Ramesh added. No wonder: 400 million Indians still do not have electricity; 500 million Chinese still do not.

No electricity means no refrigeration, to keep food and medicines from spoiling. It means no water purification, to reduce baby-killing intestinal diseases. No modern heating and air conditioning, to reduce hypothermia in winter, heat stroke in summer, and lung disease year-round. It means no lights or computers, no modern offices, factories, schools, shops, clinics or hospitals.

Fossil fuels are “gradually eliminating poverty in the Third world,” observes UCLA economist Deepak Lal. Any call to curb carbon emissions would “condemn billions to continued poverty. While numerous Western do-gooders shed crocodile tears about the Third World’s poor, they are willing to prevent them from taking the only feasible current route out from this abject state” – oil, gas, coal, nuclear and hydroelectric energy development. The situation is intolerable, unsustainable, lethal and immoral.

The only way India and China would agree to cut their emissions is if the United States cut its emissions 40% by 2020, says Ramesh – back to 1959 levels and pre-JFK living standards, when the US population was 179 million (versus 306 million today). No way will that happen. So Asian energy and economic development will continue apace. And rightly so, to foster human rights and environmental justice.

All is not bleak, however, for Canute Obama’s impossible dream of controlling global temperatures.

British politicians remain committed to slashing CO2 emissions and replacing hydrocarbons with wind power. Unfortunately, the biggest UK wind projects have been abandoned or put on indefinite hold – and a growing demand/supply imbalance portends still higher energy prices, widespread power cuts, rolling blackouts and energy rationing, the Daily Telegraph reported on August 31. Brits may soon trade their stiff upper lips for contentious town hall meetings and ballot-box revolution.

The Democratic Party of Japan’s landslide victory in the August 30 election will likely create a new coalition government tilted strongly to the left. The DJP has pledged to cut carbon dioxide gas emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 – though this will likely strangle economic growth and job creation, especially if one coalition partner’s opposition to nuclear power becomes DJP policy.

Then there is Africa, where leaders appear ready to support curbs on energy use – in exchange for up to $300 billion per year in additional foreign aid, “to cushion the impact of global warming.” That will be nice for their private bank accounts, but less so for Africa’s 750 million people who still don’t have electricity. Those people will simply be sacrificed, to prevent natural or fictitious climate disasters.

Of course, the real goal was never to control the climate. It was always to control energy use, lives, jobs, economies, transportation and housing – and usher in a new era of high tax global governance. The American people are increasingly saying they’re not ready to grant that power to Obama Gore & Company.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power ∙ Black death.

The White House revised its long term budget outlook yesterday, but not in a good way-President Barack Obama tacked another $2 trillion onto America’s tab (to China). Two days ago, the U.S. taxpayer was projected to owe “only” $7 trillion (to China) through 2020; now, it’s $9 trillion.

But wait! There’s more! America’s dismal deficit is even worse than Obama is willing to admit.

Yesterday Reuters reported that Obama’s budget predictions include more than $600 billion in revenues raised from a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme to fight so-called “global warming.” That’s a problem, because the House of Representatives in June passed a climate bill that gives away 85% of the cap-and-trade revenue that the White House was counting on in its new and unimproved budget.

So it looks as if the Obama administration needs to further revise the deficit.

Hear, Hear! The U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants to cross examine climate science. Last April, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rulemaking that carbon dioxide-the same stuff humans exhale-“endangers” human health and welfare because it causes so-called “global warming.” Now the Chamber demands that the EPA publically defend the science upon which it based the “endangerment” rulemaking, in what the Chamber says would be the “scopes monkey trial of the 21st century,” according to today’s LA Times.

Under the EPA’s rules, a public airing of the information that leads to a regulatory rule-making is allowed, but rarely performed.

A little background: An “endangerment” finding is more than mere bureaucratese. In fact, it would tripwire provisions of the Clean Air Act would send the American economy back to the Stone Age. I’m not exaggerating. If carbon dioxide “endangers” human health and welfare, than it is subject to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards of the Clean Air Act, which would require draconian regulations.

Despite the far-reaching economic consequences of an “endangerment” finding, there was little transparency in the EPA decision-making process. Earlier this summer, the Competitive Enterprise Institute revealed evidence that the EPA actually suppressed a dissenting voice from a career official.

Big decisions behind closed doors and bullying 70 year olds into silence….is this the change that Obama promised? I think not. Perhaps the President thinks it’s ok to engage in these shenanigans, because there is a scientific “consensus” on global warming.

The President is of course wrong; there is no consensus. Many smart people (we’re talking visionaries, such as Freeman Dyson) are also humble enough to admit that humans don’t know nearly as much about the climate as they think.

For example, global temperatures haven’t increased statistically since 1995, even though atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased 5% during that time. The global climate models, however, predicted that temperatures increase with emissions. That is, the models were wrong.  These are the same models that predict dire global warming. And it is these alarmist predictions that animate the global warming hysteria.

The Chamber simply wants the EPA to demonstrate why it thinks that carbon dioxide “endangers” human health and welfare. That doesn’t strike me as being terribly burdensome. If Obama is serious about “change,” then he should allow the global warming scopes monkey trial.